Knowing when it’s time to stop hiding.
- Our dreams often point us to unexpressed emotions we may be experiencing.
- When considering your response to a current dilemma, the characters you choose in your dream is always a great place to begin.
- When analyzing a dream, it’s well worth your while to include not only the people, but the animals that appear as well.
- The more shadowy, unfamiliar aspects of our potential make an appearance in our dreams—and not by random, but seen by the characters we choose.
Carol dreamed of mice overrunning a hotel room. The panic of her dream revealed a deep-seated fear and insecurity caused by a problematic relationship. However, the dream also pointed her toward resources from her other relationships that could offer a solution for this one.
Mice ran from under the couch in a hotel room. Two were normal, and the third was as big as a guinea pig!
I began by saying, “I wonder how you felt in the dream. Are you frightened by mice?”
Carol responded, “I’ve worked in pet shops with rodents and owned rats, so I am not afraid of mice whatsoever. However, in the dream, my husband was in the room with me, and he became very frantic.
“I was initially very scared, but my fear quickly turned into reasoning, remembering not to scare them with our yelling so they wouldn’t bite.”
I asked, “Did your feeling change when you saw one as big as a guinea pig?”
She answered, “Most definitely. For one thing, I couldn’t understand how and why it was so big. Moreover, it seemed agitated, stopping in its tracks and looking back and forth at us. I could tell it was more aggressive, and I started to wonder whether it had rabies or something that could harm us.”
“Were you sitting on the couch when you saw them run out?”
Carol confirmed, “I was. My husband and I were sitting on the hotel couch, waiting for his brother and sister-in-law.”
Looking to connect the dream feelings with a waking-life event, I asked, “Can you think of a recent situation in which you got very scared over something that wouldn’t normally frighten you?”
Carol made a connection to her dream. “This is surely concerning a colleague of mine who lives and works in another city. Whenever I head to his city for work, I let him know, and we go for drinks.
“He is very hot and cold. I’m thinking of taking a step back and possibly cutting ties with him altogether, but that scares me because we have gotten very close. Although I am sensitive, I can usually move away from people who hurt me with a logical approach despite being sad.
“He was recently in town for the week. I waited to see if he’d ask to hang out, but he kept saying he had been working long hours.
“One night, I texted him, ‘Try to get some rest tonight; you’ve been working hard.’ In response, he sent me a picture of his drink in a bar. With a sinking feeling, I texted, ‘Thanks for the invite.’ Later he sent me another picture of his drink at the bar we always said we’d visit together if he came to my town.
“I almost lost control. I kept thinking, is this guy dumb? Is he purposefully trying to hurt me? Is he just an inconsiderate person?
“I was afraid of my own reaction but also of how he keeps hurting me. I can see the connection between a small mouse, who I am comfortable with, turning into a huge guinea pig. What was supposed to be a safe space (our friendship) is now a threat.”
Pivoting to the character in the dream, I asked, “How would you describe your husband?”
Carol offered, “My husband is very considerate, patient, kind, and warm, but a little naive! He would never hurt a fly or do anything with ill intention. I feel very protective of him since he has a kinder and softer nature than I do.”
I reflected, “So the part of you who is like your husband, the part that allows this friend to cross all kinds of boundaries, ‘got very frantic.’ Perhaps your husband’s panic in the dream represents how the trusting, naïve part of yourself feels inside, as opposed to your outward lack of response to your friend’s provoking texts.
“Inside this relationship, you accept, accept, accept with no word of disappointment or protest. A mouse when you perhaps need to show a guinea pig-like attitude.”
Carol was struck. “Yes! It’s so true how I haven’t spoken up and continue to allow myself to be hurt! I need to bring my real self forward and stop worrying.”
Carol agreed. “This man is a mouse when it comes to opening a discussion and instead seems to hope his rude behavior will bring it on! It’s both fascinating and annoying.”
I proposed, “Perhaps the dream’s purpose is to encourage you to bring it on!”
Finally, I inquired, “What comes to mind about your brother and sister-in-law?”
Carol answered, “My brother-in-law is very witty but quick-tempered. He and I have not always gotten along because we both tend to be hot-headed. However, he has a great heart, and we’ve had many open and honest discussions about how we once clashed. I believe we have worked through our differences (or similarities, should I say).”
What We Can Learn
Building on Carol’s ideas, I added, “We are all capable of many different reactions and approaches to the scenarios in our lives, and our dreams can help us tap some forgotten approaches.
“For example, a dream may point to a past experience with the same attitude that will work today in your current life. The way you worked through your difficulties with your brother-in-law may succeed here as well.”
Carol supposed, “It’s as if in my dream, I was waiting for my brother-in-law and his temper to show up.”
I added, “Your friend is also waiting for your temper to show up! He set the stage by not seeing you while in town and, worse, showing you he’s not seeing you. The question behind the behavior is: ‘When do you finally speak out?’”